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CASTILLO: The Nine Circles Review

CASTILLO: The Nine Circles Review

It's finally time; you're going to become powerful, and no one — not even the sages — can stop you. But just before you taste sweet victory, a man from the future comes, rips apart time and reality, and becomes the new leader of Hell. Armed with only a gun, you must go through the nine circles and return the throne to its former owner so your plans may continue.

CASTILLO: The Nine Circles is a surprising mixture of genres that I didn't anticipate to ever try — you take control of Dracula as you set out through the nine circles of Hell in a first-person shooter collect-a-thon. Starting from Purgatory, you'll soon delve into Hell and start your journey as you start to collect purple shards that allow you to unlock each new area, inspired by various sins.

The tutorial gives you a bit of an idea of the game's controls and scope — CASTILLO: The Nine Circles is very indie, and it very much shows in some parts. While I didn't find many problems with the title at all, the voice acting, although impressive for such an indie title, was somewhat unimmersive at times. Though I'm not often one to complain about these sorts of things (I've dealt with Sonia in My Time At Portia, how much worse can it get?), I did find it a bit disappointing that, in the options menu, the voices couldn't be muted.

Aside from that minor hurdle, however, CASTILLO: The Nine Circles is a very enjoyable title. Its gameplay is very collect-a-thon-focused, where you will delve into each world to collect 10 Purple Crystals (which you use to advance to the next circle), five ghosts, and various money bags. While it doesn't sound like much, getting them is very enjoyable, as you'll often have to get creative to reach some of the collectibles.

The gunplay was very smooth, though it did leave me yearning for harder levels, as shooting and getting a score increase for your "combo" was gratifying in an arcade way that left me wanting for a score-attack-focused shooter. Though it is a very nice addition, and I enjoyed shooting the enemies there were, the gameplay is at its best in the mini-games that you'll have to complete.

In a very Super Mario Odyssey approach, CASTILLO: The Nine Circles has sub-areas with unique gimmicks or mechanics. While it's an FPS collect-a-thon at heart, why not try your hand at kart racing? Or get on the back of a bumblebee and ride it to the end? Or go even more retro in a very original Doom-inspired shooting section? Though these were short, the variety was an enjoyable addition that I always looked forward to.

This is also where some of the bugs were most commonly present and where the game felt the most indie. Though each mini-game was far too short to warrant a complaint, some of them felt a bit clunkier to play than the main gameplay, and it showed its indie roots. Whether it was glitching through the roof and skipping an entire sub-area or clunky controls, these were the most bug-riddled sections. That said, they are short enough that it doesn't feel like a burden or a bother, but it's definitely worth a mention.

You can also get a variety of abilities that make world traversal better and essentially serve as your progression gating. From destroying cobwebs to embracing your inner bat and gliding through the world, you can buy upgrades to your abilities and new weapons at the merchants you can find in each circle. Then, whatever level you're in, you will have to use your newfound skills to traverse and complete, which worked to keep the gameplay fresh.

Every world also has a slew of new enemies that become common throughout the next circles you’ll explore, though one of the highlights was the world design overall. Whilst Greed is set in a casino and Lust had enemies that suspiciously looked like hands… ahem… pleasing themselves, there was a lot of small attention to detail, even with the numerous outhouses found in Gluttony’s world (because let’s be real: they’re going to the bathroom. A lot).

CASTILLO: The Nine Circles is genuinely enjoyable and a mix of genres that I appreciated. The gunplay is good, the world traversal and collectibles are fun to find, and though it's a very short adventure (depending on how much you really put your heart into finding everything), it's the sort of game where you get what you see. 

7.50/10 7½

CASTILLO: The Nine Circles (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Take control of Dracula and delve into the nine circles of Hell as you reclaim the throne for its rightful owner in CASTILLO: The Nine Circles, an enjoyable and unique combination of genres.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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